Due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, many of us may have experienced a reduction in our household income over the last 18 months. Like a lot of other parts of life, our finances are under pressure, with counsellors telling us they are fielding callers to financial support and related mental health services – many for the first time.
The following tips can help us cope and provide important perspective. They are adapted from Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s excellent book Business Secrets From the Bible.
1. Don’t just focus on the here and now
Because change is a constant reality, life is more accurately depicted by a video than a photograph, according to Lapin. A photograph can’t capture reality as well as a video, because a photo is just a snapshot of one moment in time with no context. A video captures the passage of time.
Life is far more like the latter, a video, because we live in a world where time passes. We live in a world where change is continual and ceaseless.
For that reason, when examining and assessing your finances, business, or the course of your career, consider not using the snapshot of ‘’Pandemic 2021’’. Examine your personal and business matters as if you are watching a video. In other words – don’t focus on the here and now. Consider where you are headed, look for trends, and track your direction. And believe that God is with you in the disorientation, urging you forward to a more abundant place.
2. Be strong and of good courage
Unexpected changes in our finances and in our career can be scary. In all life aspects, including the financial and business spheres, the Bible teaches us that we need both courage and trust (Matt 6:25). This involves:
- analysing each challenge that you face separately – so that you are not over overwhelmed by fear (problems often come in groups, and tackling them all at once can leave us feeling overwhelmed!)
- letting the magic of the Lord’s language wash over you: be strong and of good courage (Joshua 1:9). Did you know that every time this phrase appears in Scripture, a major change, usually a promotion, in someone’s life circumstance is about to happen? When God promotes Joshua to be Moses’ successor, He says, ‘be strong and of good courage. You also see this phrase used when King David hands over the kingship to his son, Solomon, and whenever Israel confronts its enemies in war.
3. Seek the support of others
It can be tempting when experiencing financial pressures and stressors to keep these to yourself, and not seek the support of trusted others. However, one of the greatest gifts to the body of Christ are other fellow believers who can help to carry our burdens and provide comfort, a listening ear, and often helpful advice.
One of the greatest secrets of growth, according to Lappin in his book, is through connecting with others. God has created a world in which only connections yield practical results – including connections with others. Contrary to popular belief that we need to get away and escape into isolation in order to find ourselves, the truth is that we can only find ourselves when we are among others. The mental health issues associated with prolonged isolation bear testament to that.
So, look to others to find yourself. Choose trusted colleagues, business partners, and friends to get support and advice that can help you cope with any pressures on your finances, and in so doing participate in the blessing of helping to carry one another’s burdens. (it seems that in order to get use out of the world, we have to connect and combine things).
We starting to fall behind in their bills, are making first-time calls to financial services, or needing to rely on government support. Counsellors are getting calls from new customers who are feeling pretty anxious and not really know what to expect
We get a complete mixture of calls. There’s a whole range of issues but primarily people who, due to COVID-19, have had a reduction in their household income, and as a result they are starting to fall behind not just in their day-to-day bills, but in bigger things as well like mortgages and car loans.
We’ve definitely had a lot of new people calling us for the first time and feeling pretty anxious and not really knowing what to expect and feeling sort of quite embarrassed and almost apologising in some cases for needing to call. They say things like, ‘I know there are other people worse off than me’.
I think for people who have been working and lost their income, it’s a really big issue, because they’ve never had to rely on welfare. They’ve always worked and been self-sufficient, and to suddenly find themselves in that situation is just a massive shock.
Interestingly, the number of calls has actually gone down, but we’re sort of feeling that this is the calm before the storm because – up to now – the government and the banks have been generous with hardship assistance.
People have been able to get extra payments through Centrelink, so there’s a bit of an artificial buffer at the moment. Once those things start being stripped back in September, that’s when we’re expecting to see the real impact of what people are dealing with.